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Flowering indoor plants are one of the best ways to get through our tough, gray winters. Plus, growing a houseplant that blooms inside while everything outside is particularly bleak is very satisfying.

There are a number of commonly available blooming indoor plants to choose from. They include azaleas, mums, orchids, African violets and amaryllis. Let us introduce you to one that you may not have heard of before but will fit the bill when you want something different, colorful and long lasting as an attractive green plant when not in flower. The plant is clivia and once your gardening friends see yours they will be green with envy. The only problem is, where do you find clivia? Ted's Greenhouse in Tinley Park is your clivia headquarters.

Clivia are elegant and imposing. They're easier to grow than an orchid and lot more unusual than a mum or African violet. Clivia not only produce a dense cluster of lily-like orange flowers, but their dark green, strap-like foliage make them an attractive foliage plant when not in bloom.

Clivia belongs to the same family as amaryllis. The colorful orange flowers are formed in large clusters. Over time, clivia can become a very large plant. A mature plant can be 2-3 feet tall and almost as wide. Clivia flowers best when it is kept root bound and they can be kept in the same pot for many years so don't be in a rush to repot frequently.

Given the exotic tropical look of the plant, clivia are easy to grow. While inside the plant does best i a bright-light location. After all danger of frost is over, put the plant outdoors in a lightly shaded location. During the growing season water regularly, allowing the soil to dry to the touch between watering and apply a general purpose liquid fertilizer about once a month. In the fall just before frost move the plant indoors. Here is the secret to getting your clivia to rebloom. Stop fertilizing, water very sparingly and put the plant in a very cool area. By cool we mean an area where temperatures are between 45-40 degrees. A 6 to 8 week cool, dry period is essential for flower bud formation. Shorter cool periods or warmer temperatures will delay flowering from late winter/early spring to late spring/early summer. Flowers will start to be seen nestled down between the leaves. It is at this time that the plant can be brought into a warmer area to be enjoyed.

After flowering cut the stalk back. After frost place the plant back outdoors and resume regular watering and fertilization in anticipation of next season's flowers.

We have some very large clivias at Ted's. Some are showing flower buds already with color on its way. So, if you want to break away form the norm when it comes to flowering indoor plants check out clivia. You won't be disappointed.

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